Category Archives: Musings

Charity begins at home: an alternative giving guide to help ‘save the world’

Charity Begins at Home. Blog Post Talina Edwards Architecture Sustainable design Ballarat

“How wonderful it is that nobody needs to wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” ~ ANNE FRANK

Well as the year draws to an end and with the smell of Christmas is in the air already, it engages our spirit of generous giving to loved-ones… But I do hate the over-spending and over-consumption of so much non-ethical and non-sustainable “stuff”!  But this post is not a gift guide (you can find one of those here or here), THIS is about extending our generous spirit beyond our loved ones, to our wider community… to help out others at this time of year too.

Here’s some little ways that don’t have to cost much (if anything!) that might just make a big difference to someone, and if that doesn’t give you a warm fuzzy feeling inside, then perhaps you’re missing the point of the Christmas season. ;o)

Show Gratitude

This is the cheapest and easiest one! Just taking the time to say thank-you and letting someone know they are appreciated. You can tell them face to face, send a gift-card, post a comment publicly on social media… Taking this time to be thankful not only brightens someone else’s day, it will improve your wellbeing too!

Partake in Random Acts of Kindness

One of my favourite films of all time is Amelie! If you don’t know it (I highly recommend it!), it is a quirky art house film set in France, about a woman who does cute, odd little things to help influence the lives of the people around her, for the better.  If everyone was a little more kind, imagine the world we could be living in! Some like to see this as “Pay it forward” – or Good Karma – that the kindness you show others now, will be returned to you in a time of need. Maybe you could pay for a coffee/meal for the person in the queue behind you at the cafe, or fill up a parking metre as you leave, donate blood, let a car in front of you in a traffic jam, offer babysitting to parents, walk a friend’s dog, pick flowers from your garden to take to an elderly neighbour….  there are hundreds more ideas online if you’re stuck.

Volunteer Your Time

More than a third of Australian adults are already involved in voluntary work – are you? It also happens to be International Volunteer Day #IVD2014 on December 5th, and the theme for this year is “Make change happen: volunteer“. Helping make a difference in your community at a grassroots level is what it is all about… just by helping in a small way, you are in fact helping to change the world! Often giving your time, is more valuable than giving your money.

Donate with ‘Shout For Good’ App

I first heard about the ‘Shout for Good’ App at the Big Hearted Business Conference, and thought it was such a fabulous idea  – by changing the way we donate to charity in the age of the smart-phone. It is so easy – when you shout yourself lunch, how about donating the same amount to a favourite charity. With a tap on our phone it is that easy! No more being hassled by cold-callers asking you for your bank details for recurring monthly donations to the big charity organisations. Check it out here.

Support a Crowdfunding Campaign

I must admit, I’m quite a fan of supporting these. It is a very different feeling to say, giving money to the Guide Dogs or Oxfam – and please don’t get me wrong, of course each and every charity is worth supporting and I have given to these organisations many times, but I do love that with “Crowdfunding” you are supporting a person or a cause or a big idea that you feel more connected with. You can support, and share in their journey,  and more often than not, you  also get a “reward” because you’ve helped kick in the funds upfront toward capital for their project – so it’s a win-win situation for everyone. I’ve loved receiving some artwork, a CD, or knowing that a tree’s been planted all due to some very worthy ‘pozible’ campaigns. Two that are close to my heart at the moment, and still really need your help, are firstly, a local art and design collaborationCollidescope  where a total of 22 Ballarat visual-artists and fashion designers are working together to create wearable-art as part of the Melbourne Fashion Festival – but this is much more than just ‘fashion’! It is about celebrating creativity, community and collaboration! I’m fortunate to know many of the amazing creatives involved in this project, and I can’t wait to see the outcomes. Please see more here.

The other fabulous initiative that you may have heard about isThe Nursery Project‘ by two inspiring local creatives: blogging-royalty and author Rowan Anderson (Whole Larder Love) and his partner – photographer/blogger/cook “the lunch lady” Kate Berry. You may know that they are passionate about simple, wholesome, healthy, down-to-earth living, eating sustainable, and growing your own food and making it from scratch. I love their philosophies and share *most* of them (but, err, as someone who eats predominantly vegetarian, I must admit,  I’m not quite so fond of the raise/hunt/butcher and eat the WHOLE animal – as sustainable as this scenario is!). They “want people to get their hands dirty, minds thinking and bellies and hearts full”. They’ve chosen the Daylesford area for the location, noting “We’re also basing The Nursery Project a short drive from one of the unhealthiest regional cities in Australia – Ballarat – where food and lifestyle choices are at their worst. It’s here that we hope to encourage some positive change.” If you can, please do something to help change this fact, by finding out more here.

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I’m sure you’re already giving generously to others in your own unique way, I just thought I’d put a few more ideas out there. I think this is especially important to set a good example for kids at this time of year – that it is not about receiving gifts from Santa, it is about giving to others.

And in this spirit of giving, I want to show my gratitude to all of you – my wonderful family, friends, clients, colleagues, consultants, supporters, readers, fellow-bloggers, creative tribes-folk, followers and “likers”. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Without all of you, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing! 

Ballarat Sustainable Architect Green Builder


Talina Edwards Architecture is a Ballarat-based studio, specialising in sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes. We like to help answer your questions about environmental design. Don’t forget you can click here to sign up to receive our monthly newsletter  (or over there on the top right-hand side of this webpage) so you won’t miss out on our news!

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Goodbye Poppy Jack – you were an inspiration x

Well, it’s been an emotional time here for me as I very recently said my goodbyes to my dear departed grandfather. He was 94 years old and his brain was still as sharp as a tack…but unfortunately his body decided enough was enough.

My pop, Jack, was a man of few words and real gentle-man who cared very much for those close to him, even if he didn’t show much emotion. He was hardworking, knowledgeable and resourceful, inventive and innovative, and a huge Carlton Blues fan.

My pop was a carpenter and joiner back in his day (in fact he was employed in the one place for 45 years!). On retirement, he never stopped building and making and inventing things. His double-garage was his favourite place to be, he’d potter for hours in there. Now I say “double” garage, but you could barely park one car in there – it was full to the brim with timber and odd planks (many suspended from precariously from the rafters!), other building materials leaned against every wall, there were work benches with clamps and saws and drills, shelves lined with jars and containers full of nails and screws and other bits and bobs, plus all the camping gear like folding chairs and eskies and tarps… (We spent every summer as kids at Eildon Weir with my nan and pop, uncle, aunty, cousins and family-friends – camping, fishing, building cubbies amongst the pine trees, yabbying… all life-experiences that have helped shape who I am today). Anyway, Pop’s garage was a treasure trove of “stuff”. My pop was a great recycler you see – he never grew anything out – you never knew when it come in handy!

Pop fishing at Lake Eildon

Pop fishing at Lake Eildon

Pop was always very creative and inventive…he was a problem solver. One of my favourite inventions of his was a “lemon-picker” to steal lemons off the high branches of the neighbour’s lemon tree…they were hanging over his side of the fence, after all, and you couldn’t let them of to waste! The invention was a long stick with an aluminium-can attached to the end, so that you could reach up and get the lemon in the can, then use the sharp rim to cut through the stalk and pull the lemon off the tree. Genius!

He loved his garden, and would take great pride in growing tomatoes each year. He would get very impressive yields, and sometimes the plants were huge! Pop always had an intricate twine and bamboo-scaffolding system in place to tie up the plants to help support the weight of all the fruit. He was always finding a creative, hands-on solution to a problem – using found materials from his garage.

Yep – that’s me and my little bro just hanging out on the construction site!

Pop and my dad built the large extension to my family home when I was about 4 years old (in the early 1980s). The existing weatherboard cottage was small and cold…so dad read up on solar-passive-design and was inspired by the local Eltham mud-brick and natural building movement. Pop and dad were ‘owner-builders’, and soon transformed our home to twice the size, and made it a much more “sustainable” home. There was no double-glazing then of course…but the new addition was orientated so that the living areas faced north and opened to the backyard, there were double brick walls made with local handmade bricks, pine-lining, slate and natural sisal flooring, a hand-drafted timber-kitchen and it situated to take advantage of the shade of an existing mature deciduous Liquid Amber tree. I don’t remember a lot about the building works taking place, but we were home and “on-site” every day so am sure it had a huge influence on me and my chosen career path!

Poppy Jack and his great grand son

Poppy Jack with his great-grandson

So goodbye dear Pop. I am so grateful you were around long enough to get to know any enjoy your great-grandsons (our boys). They loved you very much, and they thought it was awesome that you were the oldest person they knew – “Poppy Jack is very very very very very very old!”. I love that both learned to walk with the help of your walking frame – “Poppy Jacks’s ‘wheels'”.  And I love that you and my youngest had a very special connection during his first year, when we would see you weekly to run errands together…he couldn’t yet talk, and you couldn’t hear anyway, but you both managed to communicate with smiles, facial expressions, and hand-shakes.

We’ll miss you xxx

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Talina Edwards Architecture: elemental design philosophy

Talina Edwards Architecture is a Ballarat-based studio, with a passion for sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes. We like to help answer your questions, and this post hopes to answer some questions we are often asked: “So what sort of architecture do you do?” and”What sort of ‘sustainable’ design do you do?” 

For out latest blog post, we wanted to share with you our philosophies…regarding design, sustainability and our services. Our philosophy does occupy a permanent page on our website here, but we wanted to dedicate a post to it. The thing is that behind the scenes we can reveal that we’ve been busy writing and designing a new guide, especially for you, which will be ready for launching soon… and whilst working on that, it’s been a really good reminder to revisit WHY we do what we do.

These philosophies have been developed over many, many, many years! In fact the foundations of my ethos emerged in early childhood when my love of architecture and nature first began. They were really cemented during my university years, and especially with my architectural thesis, “e[co] healing retreat” (which you can see here – scroll down toward the bottom of the gallery), which was about all of these same ideas. Since graduation, I’ve been very fortunate to have worked in practices where they shared a similar view. When I started my own practice, and I was chatting with my graphic designer about my “brand” it was pretty evident which direction to take  based on these philosophies…you’ll see how that works in the image of my logo below! So far, I’ve been very fortunate to be working with some amazing clients who are absolutely on the same wavelength, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing the result of my theories being put into practice! So watch this space…

The other thing to remember, is that sustainable design is NOT a style. My philosophies are more like a set of guiding principles that can result in very different outcomes for each client. Each project has a unique site and existing conditions, specific client requirements, different priorities  with regards to quality/timing/budget, and different regulatory controls (planning/building permits) etc… This is why the “one-size-fits-all” approach of mass-produced spec-homes doesn’t fit with my philosophy…

Our Elemental Design Philosophy

“Elemental” design for us is about the fundamental elements of our lives… we need food, water, air and shelter for survival. For the first three, it is preferable these should be as fresh and pure as possible; un-contaminated and un-polluted, for our health and wellbeing. We believe “shelter” and comfort (or “home”) is just as important, and it too should be comfortable, healthy, and not cause pollution (or depletion of our earth’s resources) in its day-to-day operation, its construction or in the manufacturing of its components. Ancient Chinese philosophy talks about the five elements in terms of earth, air, water, wood and fire… and these are inextricably linked to our sustainable design philosophy. We also believe there is a fifth element needed for survival beyond just food/water/air/shelter….   “love” (connection/care/compassion). Without love for others, love for our planet, love of what we do, what is the point? At Talina Edwards Architecture, we LOVE what we do…. and we care about helping you get your ‘elemental shelter’ (sustainable home) that won’t cost the earth…

Talina-Edwards-Architcture-Elemental-Design-Philosophy

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Our Sustainable Design Philosophy

Our sustainable design philosophy is a holistic approach:

Environmental sustainability: wellbeing of the planet (solar passive design, responsible use of resources, energy-efficient, honest materials, minimal waste, positive relationship between built environment and natural environment)

Social sustainability: wellbeing of occupants (health, comfort, natural light, fresh air, quality of life) and also positive contribution to the community

Economic sustainability: wellbeing of the wallet (economical design) and sensible solutions that will help reduce running costs over the building’s life span, with smart choices for future flexibility

The practice also addresses the functional, physical, and aesthetic requirements for each client. We believe the best design solutions come from a collaborative approach, with a close client-architect relationship throughout your project.

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Our Services Philosophy

At Talina Edwards Architecture, we pride ourselves on providing high-quality, professional architectural services, that are delivered in a friendly, down-to-earth way. We understand that the building process is a big deal, so want to make sure it is as easy as possible for you to enjoy the journey with minimal stress. We are here to listen to your needs and wants, and to help guide you on your dream-home journey, as a collaborative process. Find out what some of our happy customers are saying here.

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Do you share a similar philosophy/ethos? I’ve love to hear about it in the comments below!

We’ll aim to answer more questions about sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes, also with reference to our local climate (Regional Ballarat area and Melbourne) in future posts. Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our monthly newsletter  (over there on the top right-hand side of this page) so you won’t miss out on our posts!

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Do what you love, make money, and save the world. #BHB2014

Wow! What a weekend I’ve just had. I’ve just attended Clare Bowditch‘s AWESOME Big Hearted Business (un-)conference for the second year…and to think that both times I almost didn’t go! Last year I wasn’t sure that I (or my new business) was “creative” enough, until I kept getting signs front the universe that indeed I was and I was meant to be there…and if it wasn’t for last year’s event…this blog would not have been born (read more here), and I might never have started my own architectural practice. This year I honestly thought that as I’d had my turn last time, it was now time for someone else to have a go, as there were limited tickets. However when they initially announced that it was not sold-out, a friend’s grandmother’s wise words would not leave my head…”What’s for you will not pass you by“, and I jumped and bought a ticket for this year’s event. BEST. DECISION. EVER. (Twice now!)

Talina-Edwards- #BHB2014 Clare-Bowditch-

The inspiring, generous, loving Clare Bowditch – the brains (left and right!) behind this whole shebang!

Talina-Edwards- #BHB2014 -panel- Danielle-Laporte Joost Beci-Orpin

What AMAZING speakers! Clare with Danielle LaPorte, Joost Bakker and Beci Orpin.

I went along last weekend trying NOT to have any expectations…but that is very difficult when the inaugural event was such a life-changing moment for me (and everyone else there!)…does the sequel EVER live up to the original? Not usually…but thankfully I was wrong. This year’s BHB was every bit as inspiring, motivating, engaging, encouraging, emotional, funny, educational, connecting, etc., as the first, but more importantly for me, it was a very timely reminder of just how far I’ve come on my journey this last year, and it reaffirmed that I’m on my right path.

My head and my heart are so full after the weekend, so I cannot give justice in this one post to the all the words of wisdom by trying to summarise them now. (I might go into some more detail in future posts). But the real secret (SHHHHHH!) of the Big Hearted Business (un-)conference is that it is NOT really about “business” at all! The essence of whole event, is that it is really about life, happiness & fun, dreams & goals, values & purpose, ethics & truth, emotional wellbeing and not just a focus on finance, ….sounds pretty good, huh?! “Do what you love, make money, and save the world” is their tagline. And really, this stuff should be taught in schools, to everyone, everywhere! How many business conferences do you know where you get to laugh and cry, sing and do “bo-ga” (Bogan-yoga), meditate, and hug your frentors? (No “schnetworking” here people!).

 

Do what you love, make money, save the world! Gorgeous lettering by BHB alumni Carla Hackett

Do what you love, make money, save the world! Gorgeous lettering by BHB alumni Carla Hackett

Talina-Edwards- #BHB2014 -Showbag Big hearted business

Big-hearted goody-bag!

Talina-Edwards #BHB2014 giving tree share the love

Such a gorgeous idea – The Giving Tree. Sharing the love by sharing some skills – creative bartering at its best.

Talina-Edwards #BHB2014-Clare Bowditch sings Amazing Life

Clare brings the room to tears by singing “Amazing Life

Talina-Edwards #BHB2014 mindmap notes #BHBnotes

An attempt to organise my thoughts (and pages of notes!) with a mind map.

So what does this all have to do with my business as an architect with a passion for green buildings, sustainable design and healthy homes? Well, it’s confirmed that for me to be creating my sustainable architectural practice in a non-mainstream way, and on my own terms, is not only “acceptable”, it is absolutely VITAL. Want to why I became and Architect? See here. And what about my philosophy? Try here.

The speakers that I engaged with the most, were the ones who were able to tell their story in such a simple authentic way –  pure communication that made their message appear SO SIMPLE, made it FEEL SO RIGHT. That is part of my vision, to tell “elemental” truths, to practice “elemental” design, and to lead by example like these inspiring big-hearted people do….and I’ve just figured out WHY these speakers such as Joost Bakker, Danielle La Porte, Fabian Dattner, Pip Lincolne, Missy Higgins & more were so able to connect with their audience on this level. They have such a strong belief in themselves and why they do what they do, that we instinctively want a piece of the action too!  We all over complicate things and have lost touch with what really matters. But things are changing. Revolution is a BIG word, and not one I’d use lightly, but if you were there on the weekend you’d feel it too….watch this space and look out for the rise of these big-hearted businesses!

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PS A huge THANK YOU to Clare Bowditch and the Big-Hearted-Business team and to ALL the big-hearted attendees who are now part of my tribe…If you’d like to read more about the conference from others who were there, I highly encourage you to check out these blogs and support these amazing folk!

Pip Lincoln from “Meet Me At Mikes” http://meetmeatmikes.com/2014/05/stuff-i-learned-on-the-weekend/

Dorothy K http://www.dorothyk.com.au/big-hearted-business

Martine (Vintage Prints) http://viewsfromtheredbrickroad.wordpress.com/2014/05/05/deciding-to-rise/

Helen Edwards – no relation to me! (Recycled Interiors) http://recycledinteriors.org/2014/05/07/big-hearted-business-conference-2014-good-fail-happy-dance-feeling-way/

Amanda Dziedzic (Glass-blowing artist) http://littlebirdbigchip.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/big-hearted-business-and-my-crush-on.html

Amy Feldtmann http://amyfeldtmann.com/2014/05/03/big-hearted-pearls-of-wisom-bhb2014/

Tahlee Rouillon (The Attitude Revolution) http://attituderevolution.net/big-hearted-weekend/

Selina Braine (I Can Draw) http://icandrawwithselina.wordpress.com/2014/05/06/the-bhb-un-conference-has-brought-me-here-what-a-weekend/

Rebecca Jee http://rebeccajee.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/big-hearted-business-unconference-part-1.html http://rebeccajee.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/bhb-unconference-part-2-keywords.html

Lisa Miller (Multiples of Two) http://multiplesoftwo.com/you/big-hearted-business-unconference-2014/

Always Josefa http://www.alwaysjosefa.com/pieces-of-me/big-hearted-business-2014/

Gill Stannard (Naturopath, Health and Happiness coach) http://gillstannard.com.au/2014/05/13/what-missy-higgins-knows-about-wellness/

Kat McNally http://www.katmcnally.com/2014/05/rearranged.html

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 Sign up for Talina Edwards Architecture’s monthly newsletter HERE, to be kept up to date with all things sustainable design, green building and healthy homes. You’ll also receive your FREE guide “Do I need an Architect?”

What do YOU think? We love your comments and questions, so please don’t be shy! Comment below x

Happy 1st Birthday to our blog!

Talina Edwards Architecture is a Ballarat-based studio, specialising in sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes. 

Talina-Edwards-Architecture-Blog-First-Birthday

Hey, Guess What?! It’s our birthday! Yes, its been one year whole since this blog began! So to celebrate, I thought I’d share a few stats, and a recap of the posts…you never know, you might’ve missed out on something you’d like to go back and check-out. Grab yourself a slice of birthday cake and a glass of bubbly (or a cuppa tea!), and settle in for some reading!

So this post is our 28th. Which means on average, a new post goes up about once a fortnight. There are 15 main categories for the posts: Architecture, Ballarat, Creativity, Design, Environment, Folio, Food, Gift Ideas, Green Building, Inspiration, Musings, Newsletters, Recycling, Sustainability, and uncategorised. According to the site statistics, there’s been over 4000 views of the blog, and 130 comments, which sounds pretty good to me, for a “new kid on the blog” ;o)

Here they all are (in chronological order):

The first day of the rest of my (amazing) life! (The reason behind why this blog began in this first place, or what kicked my butt into action!)

“You are what you eat” (In answer to a question I often get asked)

When I grow up, I want to be… (the answer is obvious, isn’t it?)

The self-doubting creative soul… sound familiar? (You too? Or perhaps not)

“So, what is your blog about?” (An old fave)

Transform: Altering the Future of Architecture (Review of Women in Architecture seminar in Melbourne)

Five ways to acknowledge World Environment Day (Relevant for every day!)

The secret recipe for great buildings! (Do you know what it is?)

What is democracy? Visit M.A.D.E. to find out (Review of one of Ballarat’s newly renovated public buildings)

The future is ‘green’ for big roofs (Review of Ballarat Green Drinks event + more)

Talina Edwards Architecture FOLIO project: “Miller and Co Studio” (A little project we did last year)

Spring has sprung! (Seasonal musings)

5 Ways To Celebrate World Architecture Day! (Or if you’re at all interested in Architecture and Building Design, take a peek!)

Design is not a dirty word! (Truly, it’s not. But it has does have a bit of a bad reputation!)

5 Recycling Ideas When Building Your Home (reduce/re-use/reclaim/salvage/up-cycle) (Love some recycling tips!)

5 Architecture Gift Ideas for Kids (For christmas or birthdays, these are for all kids to encourage creativity!)

5 things to buy an Architect for Christmas…(*hint hint*) (Hmmm, this was a very popular post, yet I didn’t receive ANY of these gifts last year…?!)

My big-hearted tribe (A shout-out to Big Hearted Businesses)

Our *first* Newsletter! (Well, we wanted to share it here too)

A Creative Conversation (Review of a fabulous workshop I attended here in Ballarat)

Season’s Greetings! (The obligatory Xmas Card)

Talina Edwards Architecture February Newsletter (Another update from the studio)

Top 5 New Year’s Resolutions (Felt like I needed to!)

World’s Biggest Green Drinks Ballarat (Review of local event and insightful speaker)

Folio Flashback: Sustainable House, Malvern (Still love this house!)

Starting out on your green home journey? Ballarat’s ‘Smart Living and Building Expo’ (& we) can help! (Review and some pretty pics)

WHY do sustainable design? (Why do you think?)

So I’ve covered some local Ballarat (and Melbourne) events, talked about design and creativity, given advice in the form of “top five tips”, showcased some folio projects for Talina Edwards Architecture, written about seasonal events, talked a bit about who I am, and of course the posts are always somewhat related to architecture and my practice, sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes.

The future of the blog is going to take a slightly more focused path for a bit as I concentrate on the “Sustainable Design” series of informative articles where I aim to help answer your questions, starting with our recent post on WHY do sustainable design?  I’ll of course also be covering what, where, when, who, and how…plus much more detail into the “what” and how sustainable / eco / green / energy-efficient design can benefit you and your home. (I’ll still continue to post some other topical news too).

Looking forward to sharing some of this with you all – as this is what I’m passionate about, as an Architect who specialises in this field.

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PS I LOVE reading your comments, and responding to your queries…so please, say something in the comments box below. Do you have a favourite post of ours? Is there a topic you’d like us to cover? Maybe you’d just like to say hi, and happy birthday! Just you stopping to by to read is THE best birthday gift of all – so a big thank you – I really appreciate it! x